Society hears of Canaan men who helped make a nation

The interior of the early 19th century church, which now belongs to the Canaan Historical Society. Photo by Peter Flierl

CANAAN—Dodie Gearing, Town of Canaan historian, and secretary and curator of the Canaan Historical Society, enthralled attendees at the annual meeting of the Canaan Historical Society with her description of Canaan’s 17th Militia and its participation in the Battle of Saratoga. In that battle British General John “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne surrendered on October 17, 1777, the turning point in the war begun at Lexington and Concord.

Warner’s Tavern just down the road was a gathering point. It was also the source of seven Warner sons, who were members of the Canaan 17th Militia, which sent a total of 47 men to the battle. Ms. Gearing pointed out that joining the militia was an act of treason. Like the signers of the Declaration of Independence, these Canaan residents were risking everything, life, liberty, and property in pursuit of freedom.

Brenda Adams, Canaan town supervisor and treasurer of the Canaan Historical Society, reported to the roughly 25 people present on the fiscal health of the organization, noting there has been no membership revenue since 2018, due in part to passing of several leaders. Two checking accounts for operations and building have $900 and $222, while a money market restricted fund has $16,000. The budget approved for the coming year includes: Insurance, $1,800; Electricity, $225; Post Office Box, $64; and Printing, $100. The board will be searching records to determine the nature of restrictions.

Officers nominated and elected for the coming year include: Lauree Hickock, president; Gary Flaherty, immediate past president; Brenda Adams, treasurer; Dodie Gearing, curator and secretary.

Ms. Adams noted there is a significant leak on the front corner of the roof which needs attention soon. The organization owns the building built in 1829 and dedicated on December 31, 1829 as a Presbyterian Church. The Historical Society acquired the building on May 23, 1963.

Membership is open. For information on society programs and volunteering, email or send to Canaan Historical Society, 13 Warner Crossing Road, Canaan, New York 1202.

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